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Old 09-08-2010, 03:56 PM   #1
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Cheap flooring - this OK?


Hi,

I am finishing the basement. I have laid down a decent sub floor (2x4 on their narrow side - filled with 3 in of expanded polystyrene) with a separation of 16 in on-centre + 3/4 inch OSB on top (yes, it's cold up here). On top I was planning to lay regular 2 ft x 8 ft planks of some sort of engineered wood (1/2 inch thick, no more), glue it and nail it to the subfloor. The floor would be painted w/epoxy.

I am not looking for the ultimate hardwood floor, just something cheap and quick to place over the subfloor (no plastics).

Questions:

1 - Can I get away with it?
2 - If so, what kind of wood would be recommended?

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Old 09-08-2010, 05:29 PM   #2
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Cheap flooring - this OK?


Where are you located ?
Did you use treated/rot resistant wood on the concrete as required ?
Vapor barrier ?
What plans/steps did you take for water vapor coming thru the concrete ?

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Old 09-08-2010, 08:37 PM   #3
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Cheap flooring - this OK?


Please remember that there is no approval guideline for building a floor with sleepers over a slab. The conditions are much worse when the slab is below grade, so you're on your own.

I also wish to disagree with our friend Dave about the use of pressure treated lumber indoors. It should not be used anywhere indoors, with one possible exception. It should be fine as the sole-plate at the bottom of a framed wall where it's in contact with a slab. I wouldn't trust it without a layer of 1/4" poly foam, but it may be expectable. PT is way too wet and so it'll distort all kinda way as it dries when indoors. I've seen it happen several times myself.

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Old 09-09-2010, 03:41 AM   #4
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The old PT had arsenic in it. Quite toxic indoors. Don't now about the chemicals in the new stuff.
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Old 09-09-2010, 05:27 AM   #5
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As mentioned, not enough info here.

Below grade sub-floor might be a problem. Is the basement damp? What age is the building and what is the basement walls made of? Block Vs stone, etc.

All those things determine the degree of moisture in the space and knowing that will determine what type of flooring will work for you.
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Old 09-12-2010, 02:45 PM   #6
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Hi,
tx! for the input.
Will try to add info. BTW, believe it or not, this was OK'd by the municipality (in Ontario - Canada).

House. Basement below grade - concrete slab
Sub-floor built as follows:

1 - Concrete treated w/"densifier" i.e. reactive-type. Sort of water-proofing (i.e. Liqui-Hard)
3 - All cracks sealed w/polyurethane sealer (i.e. Silka Flex)
3 - On top, one coat of water and gas-proof elastomeric paintable membrane (i.e. Blue Seal)
4 - 6 mil poly (not a vapour membrane). Placed there to protect the Blue Seal coat while working on the sub-floor.
5 - Sub floor of PT lumber on its thin side (yes, subtracting 3.5 inches from the hight of the room) - thermal isolation of a double layer of expanded polyurethane between PT rafters.
6 - OSB board 3/4 inch w/grooves screwed to the PT rafters.

The concrete treatement was required to remediate (passively - hopefully) a Radon issue. The basement was never humid nor was there ever a water problem - no dampness. No sum pump.

The thermal isolation is to ensure reasonable temperatures in winter (it could get darn cold up here...).


This is new PT, no Arsenic, just a triple concentration of Copper which does not out-gassing, no leaching.

Tx! in advance.
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Old 09-12-2010, 03:31 PM   #7
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Cheap flooring - this OK?


Arsenic has nothing to do with why PT is not recommended for indoor use. The reason is that it contains too much moisture and so it'll shrink and distort as it dries indoors. It's ok as a sole plate but not for anything else indoors.

OK'ing it, or not red flagging it, means nothing. They just don't have an ordinance or code written on the issue. Your municipality will not guarantee anything. Best to check with people that know.

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Old 09-14-2010, 12:12 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JazMan View Post
Arsenic has nothing to do with why PT is not recommended for indoor use. The reason is that it contains too much moisture and so it'll shrink and distort as it dries indoors. It's ok as a sole plate but not for anything else indoors.
Jaz
Tx. But the subfloor is done. I can't go back. Any ideas/recommendations re: subfloor and floor?
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Old 09-14-2010, 03:25 PM   #9
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Cheap flooring - this OK?


Quote:
Originally Posted by globus999 View Post
Hi,
tx! for the input.
Will try to add info. BTW, believe it or not, this was OK'd by the municipality (in Ontario - Canada).

House. Basement below grade - concrete slab
Sub-floor built as follows:

1 - Concrete treated w/"densifier" i.e. reactive-type. Sort of water-proofing (i.e. Liqui-Hard)
3 - All cracks sealed w/polyurethane sealer (i.e. Silka Flex)
3 - On top, one coat of water and gas-proof elastomeric paintable membrane (i.e. Blue Seal)
4 - 6 mil poly (not a vapour membrane). Placed there to protect the Blue Seal coat while working on the sub-floor.
5 - Sub floor of PT lumber on its thin side (yes, subtracting 3.5 inches from the hight of the room) - thermal isolation of a double layer of expanded polyurethane between PT rafters.
6 - OSB board 3/4 inch w/grooves screwed to the PT rafters.

The concrete treatement was required to remediate (passively - hopefully) a Radon issue. The basement was never humid nor was there ever a water problem - no dampness. No sum pump.

The thermal isolation is to ensure reasonable temperatures in winter (it could get darn cold up here...).

This is new PT, no Arsenic, just a triple concentration of Copper which does not out-gassing, no leaching.

Tx! in advance.
I've been doing a lot of research on this topic because I was thinking about doing the same at my home. So here are a few things.
- Was the floor level before you began? Otherwise, you have to shim each floor joist.
- Did you test for moisture with calcium chloride test? Not just by it doesn't FEEL damp. Most sealers/epoxies have a rating for maximum level of moisture/vapor or else the bond won't hold or it will bubble. Also, flooring you put on there can be damaged by moisture.
- the 6mil poly will act as a vapor barrier. If you are just using it to protect the blue seal, are you going to rip it out after? How are you fastening your floor joists?
- What you're doing is a sleeper floor joist system. The traditional quick and cheap method was to lay plastic on concrete, then put regular untreated lumber over it for floor joists and subfloor fastened to that. Untreated because there is barrier and its not in direct contact with concrete. In your case, you've already sealed the concrete, so you may not need treated lumber. Not sure about that though.
- rigid foam insulation is a good idea.
- 3/4" T&G SOB is fine for subfloor.

Last edited by acerunner; 09-14-2010 at 03:43 PM.
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Old 09-14-2010, 06:59 PM   #10
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Quote:
- 3/4" T&G SOB is fine for subfloor.
Shouldn't that be "OSB"?

I'm the SOB!
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Old 09-14-2010, 07:03 PM   #11
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Shouldn't that be "OSB"?

I'm the SOB!
haha. i meant what I said. you MUST lay a bunch of SOBs on the floors. That's how they do it around here.
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Old 09-14-2010, 07:05 PM   #12
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Back in the days of my drinking, I used to see a lot of SOB's laying on the floor from time to time. In fact...I may well have been one of them, if I hadn't owned the place.
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Old 09-15-2010, 07:56 AM   #13
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Cheap flooring - this OK?


Hi, tx! for the questions. Pls see answers (however, the sub is finished). I would appreciate any thoughts on the porposed floor itself.

Quote:
Originally Posted by acerunner View Post
I've been doing a lot of research on this topic because I was thinking about doing the same at my home. So here are a few things.
- Was the floor level before you began? Otherwise, you have to shim each floor joist.

>> No. I had to shim extensively. What a pain in the neck! since I didn't want to pierce the concrete slab, all the sims were glued together and to the rafter.

- Did you test for moisture with calcium chloride test? Not just by it doesn't FEEL damp. Most sealers/epoxies have a rating for maximum level of moisture/vapor or else the bond won't hold or it will bubble. Also, flooring you put on there can be damaged by moisture.

>> No. No need. The walls were bone dry. Second, the first treatement provides a water-proof concrete wall although, not gas-proof. Hence the second layer. The Blue Seal is water-based so there is no humidity issue here. All worked quite well, except that the Blue Seal layer is a pain to apply whithout a specialized sprayer (which I didn't have).

- the 6mil poly will act as a vapor barrier. If you are just using it to protect the blue seal, are you going to rip it out after?

>> Maybe, maybe not. I didn't bother sealing it properly. I guess it will offer some protection, but that wasn't its primary purpose. No. No ripping off after. It stayed put. No reason to remove it.

How are you fastening your floor joists?

>> Good question. L shaped metalic attachments bolted to the concrete slab and sleepers. Few of them sprinkled where required. Only had real movement issues while assembling the sleepers. Once the floor was fully in place, it is so heavy that there is no way in heck it will ever move. More once the framing is in place. BTW, holes of the bolts into the concrete were filled with polyurethane seales (Silka Flex) to ensure gas-tightness.

- What you're doing is a sleeper floor joist system. The traditional quick and cheap method was to lay plastic on concrete, then put regular untreated lumber over it for floor joists and subfloor fastened to that. Untreated because there is barrier and its not in direct contact with concrete. In your case, you've already sealed the concrete, so you may not need treated lumber. Not sure about that though.

>> Tought about that, but seen serveral videos where similar systems were shown where water sipped through and there was a considerable amount of fungus in the wood. Since there is a laundry area too, I didn't want to take any chances. Hence, PT.

- rigid foam insulation is a good idea.

>> Thought so. I had nigtmares thinking of what may happen if water would to seep through (e.g. a spill) and soak a fiber glass insulation.

- 3/4" T&G SOB is fine for subfloor.

>> Thought so. 3/4 supports up to 24 inches O/C but I placed the sleepers 16 O/C. Glad I did so. There is almost no bending. Only when a humongous static load is applied, then, some bending becomes visible, but nothing to write home about.
Bottom line is that the basement is and will be bone dry for the foreseable future. Any thoughts regarding my proposed floor plans?
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Old 09-15-2010, 06:54 PM   #14
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>> Tought about that, but seen serveral videos where similar systems were shown where water sipped through and there was a considerable amount of fungus in the wood. Since there is a laundry area too, I didn't want to take any chances. Hence, PT.
in that situation, it is damage due to water from above (laundry). If your laundry were to flood, u'd get rot on your flooring and subfloors too. The reason PT is used on concrete is because moisture wicking up from concrete into the wood that's in contact with it. Moisture from above is a whole different issue and all the treatments you did with the concrete is nullified anyway.
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Old 09-17-2010, 08:52 AM   #15
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in that situation, it is damage due to water from above (laundry). If your laundry were to flood, u'd get rot on your flooring and subfloors too. The reason PT is used on concrete is because moisture wicking up from concrete into the wood that's in contact with it. Moisture from above is a whole different issue and all the treatments you did with the concrete is nullified anyway.
Yes. I know. Please note that the concrete treatment has nothing to do with humidity but with Radon sipping in. Water-proofing is just a bonus side effect. And yes, I know that in the event of a spill, water will be leaking from above. That's precisely why I am planning a water-tight floor as described in the first post.

In summary, no water from concrete since it is sealed. And, theoretically, no water from spills since the floor will be water tight.

However, I don't know if this idea for the floor will float or does it has flaws. I am particularly interested on any type of 4x8 ft wood plank (1/4 inch) that may be suitable.

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